Donors not giving all that they can

Underemployment, too much student debt, and an inability to move up in their field all are factors in holding back younger donors from giving more. But it’s not all bad news, according to Penelope Burk. The president of Toronto, Ontario-based Cygnus Applied Research shared a smattering of statistics and results from the 2014 Burk Donor Survey during a session at the 52nd annual Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference.

Two out of five donors in the survey said they held back their philanthropy last year, and the ones most likely to say they were giving less than they could were younger than 35. A young donor who is head of household without student debt has an average net worth of $65,000, compared with $8,000 for those with student debt, according to Burk.

All Baby Boomers will reach age 65 by 2029 and the height of the Baby Boomer retirements will be 2025. That year, Burk said, there will be 10 retirees for each new entrant into the workforce – double the ratio from the 1970s. Currently, Generation X and Y make up 57 percent of the workforce, with Baby Boomers some 38 percent, according to Burke. “All of a sudden, young workers will be swooshed into the workforce, into higher-paying positions, in numbers that are absolutely extraordinary,” she said.

Donors don’t give all they could, according to the survey results. In the U.S., 41 percent said they could give more compared with 36 percent in Canada, but half of young donors said they could give more.